When the lovely folks at Argos got in touch and asked if I'd like to be involved in writing about my top tips for choosing a family sofa, I thought yeah, why not? Take a few nice photos of us all curled up together, some of the kiddos and then write about what makes a really good place to park your bum. How hard can that be?
Those three photos sum up quite well why I really don't bother trying to involve my lot in anything; as you can see, it all turned pretty quickly into sofa carnage, which is actually a fairly good representation of our life - noisy, boisterous and downright daft.
I was going to ditch the photos, and threaten the removal of television privileges until all three of them behaved, but then I realised that actually they showed exactly what a family sofa has to go through; wrestling, fighting, leaping, squashing up, settling down, crumbs, spillages and general chaos. I think any sofa that's going to deal with small children needs to do the following:
1. Have removable covers
Your sofa is going to be a dining table, a desk, a place to colour, a sickbed and a craft room - if it has nothing else, it's going to need removable covers that can be washed, and preferably ones that dry fairly quickly as well! (This is doubly important if you've got pets!)
2. Be robust
OK, so it doesn't need to be built like a tank, but it's going to have to withstand some pretty heavy usage. It's going to be a den, a rocket and a wrestling ring, it's going to be pummelled, jumped on and rolled over. Forget anything with flimsy wooden arms - they're not good for using as a horse anyway - because they'll probably end up in a splintery mess.
3. Be spacious
You're going to want to avoid those teeny decorative sofas, and instead go for the biggest thing that fits in the room - if you need to get rid of the rest of the furniture, so be it. If you've got small children, they're almost guaranteed to want to snuggle up on your lap or by your side, even if you've bought them their own mini-armchairs or beanbags. If you've got big children or teenagers, they're going to want to spread out with their friends, so they can grunt at each other in comfort. Basically, there's one size for a family sofa, and that's huge.
4. Have space for storage
It doesn't necessarily need to be built in (is that even a thing with sofas?), but if you've got small children, try looking for a sofa that has some space underneath for keeping toys or games out of sight. It doesn't have to be masses - ours is about 4" off of the floor on sturdy wooden legs, and it's brilliant for hiding away our gazillion jigsaw puzzles.
5. Be a sensible colour
You weren't thinking of choosing a white sofa were you? Or cream? That's lucky, because unless everyone is going to sit on the floor, and you're going to put Police tape around it, the whole thing would be ruined before you could even get the packaging into the recycling bin. Dark colours are the key when you've got children - they hide a multitude of sins, from ice lollies and spilled juice to dropped chocolate (ahem) and spilled paint (double ahem).
Many thanks to Argos for collaborating with me on this post. You can see tips from other lovely bloggers on the Argos website right here.